Monday, March 2, 2009

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Fifty, No Testimony

As some of you may know already, there was no testimony today. I woke up very late this morning and was complaining to Mr. Sprocket that he would have to drive me to court because I was going to be very late. He didn't want to do that so he kept insisting that I "call ahead" to see if court was dark. I finally humored him and called at 8:45 am. Sure enough, Wendy said court was dark today. I asked about tomorrow and she said it was unknown. So I lucked out on waking up late and saved a trip into downtown.

From the E-mails I received today, there were other trial watchers who were not as lucky. A few people who did show up at court told me about their experience and shared information they learned from Alan Jackson and other trial watchers who were there. (Y'all know who you are and I thank you for writing.)

There were two things I was told that were significant. The first was, Mr. Spector was having a "medical procedure" and the fact that the jury was excused for the day.

The fact that the jury was at the courthouse and had to be excused tells me the prosecution (and the court) was not notified of this "procedure" until sometime Saturday or most likely Sunday. The reason I'm leaning towards Sunday is because Fidler has stated in court recently, in regards to a hearing outside the jury's presence, "I came in on Saturday to research case law on this issue...." So Fidler and other employees can get in the building on Saturday, probably even on Sunday. They could get into the building to get the list of phone numbers for the jurors and call them. I would think that, if the court and the prosecution was notified at a reasonable time on Saturday, say, like after a Saturday morning doctor's appointment, they "could have" gotten the list and called the jurors.

There's also the remote possibility that Wendy has the list of phone numbers with her, at home and could have called the jurors from there. However, I don't think that's likely considering that the court has gone to great lengths to protect the juror's privacy. Supposedly, even the court does not know their names, only their juror number.

We know that Spector was "supposed" to have the surgery on his vocal cords in December. In fact, his counsel even requested two days off for it (Friday and the following Monday). But even before the surgery was scheduled to happen that weekend, I overheard the ladies at the defense table (Susan Matross and Jennifer Barringer) tell Wendy that it most likely wasn't going to happen. The following Monday was still dark, but Spector did not have the throat surgery. This was somewhat confirmed by the fact that his voice sounded the same when he returned to court.

So, it is "possible" that Spector had an emergency doctor's appointment on Saturday morning and it was decided to schedule the vocal cord surgery for Monday. Another possibility is, Spector woke up over the weekend and could no longer speak. He contacted his doctor and they scheduled the surgery that was postponed from December for Monday.

There are a few other possibilities, too. Spector is seeing the writing on the wall with his crumbling defense and could be pulling a last minute stall tactic to delay his last few weeks of freedom. Or, Weinberg could be pulling a stall because he hasn't been able to locate Punkin Pie. Maybe his star witness, the "best friend" has disappeared, flown the coop so to speak. Jennifer Hayes Riedl testified she hasn't spoken to Ms. Pie since the last trial in 2007. Hayes Riedl's explanation was, she moved and was in a new job and she hadn't been in contact with Ms. Pie or that entire social scene. Or maybe another witness Weinberg wants to call can't make it.

What do I think has happened? Well, please understand that this is all speculation on my part and I have no secret knowledge or sources. These are just my thoughts. Do any of you know the lyrics to John Prine's Spanish Pipedream? I'm thinking of this line: "For I knew that topless lady, had something up her sleeve." It's my opinion that Weinberg has something up his sleeve that he is going to present in court this late in the game. Either a surprise witness or new evidence. Again, this is just speculation and I have no knowledge of what really happened this weekend. However, here are some reasons why I have this opinion.

Weinberg stalled and stalled and stalled regarding turning over the discovery on his suicidologist, Dr. Sieden. He had to be ordered by Fidler to sit down with the prosecution, that day, and was also given a deadline to turn over a written summary of what Dr. Sieden's testimony would be. He delayed until the last possible moment to turn over Stuart James's power point presentation as well as the three power point presentations by James Pex. Pex testified he turned over his rough draft notes with the presentation to Weinberg. However Weinberg insisted to the court he didn't get the notes from Pex until later. I don't specifically remember Fidler stating that the prior testing by Pex was a discovery violation. What I do remember Fidler ruling was, "If it wasn't discoverable before, it is now. [...] Turn the September 3rd, 2008 testing over to the prosecution."

Then we have the latest issue that was ruled a discovery violation, with Greg Sims dramatically embellishing his testimony from the first trial. It's because of all these events that it's my opinion that something is up and Weinberg needed more time.

What do you think, dear readers? I thought I would give you a poll to vote on your favorite theory. I'm going to wait until 8:30 am tomorrow to find out if court is still dark before I leave.


Anonymous said...

Love the poll thing in your blog. A great idea.

Let's see. What other unknown reasons could I come up with --sitting at my computer in another state musing on the strange event of court going dark so unexpectedly?

1. Phil Spector had a medical emergency and had to go to the emergency room for something completely unrelated to his throat. Maybe his prostate is acting up after all that viagra he takes.

2. Phil Spector, who has been the ultimate control freak up to now, has had it with Weinberg and is trying to fire him (good luck).

3. Weinberg has presented Fidler with some complex and compelling reason for a mistrial, and Fidler needs the time to sort it out.

4. As all the other witnesses are seeing the way things are going and its effect on their personal reputations and careers, they are leaving the sinking ship.

I am sure there are endless things to speculate on, but one thing I feel sure of, and that is that PS and his need to control are at the center of it.

These thoughts are the result of my idle speculation...

JayDee said...

Not sure about Los Angeles these days, but in most of the state, the Jury Commissioner's office maintains the records regarding who's on what jury and how to reach them. When I did jury service up there in the 90's, they'd call us or wave us off pretty quickly. It seems unlikely that they wouldn't have an emergency procedure.

So I guess I'll vote for "late Sunday".

katfish said...

I didn't choose the new evidence choice because it's obvious Weinberg doesn't care if he has violations.

That would be sooo cool if Pie had flown the coop, but as JHR still had to finish her testimony (right?) I ruled that excuse out.

I picked Spector is stalling because his defense is falling apart. I realize this is not the most logical or even probable but it made ME feel the best! BWAHH!

Anonymous said...

Well, what ever happened... the jury can't be to happy... to show up and than be sent home...I would we pssst.

Lee in Oz said...

Hi Sprocket,
Like Anonymous 2 March 9.37 PM I am also sitting at my computer (but not just in another state but in another COUNTRY!) idly wondering about this court darkness. I am wondering under what circumstances could this happen at such short notice? Would it be possible for Weinberg to stall in such a way? Wouldn't it have to be an emergency? I'm thinking that if it was just a stalling technique that Fidler wouldn't have to agree, or at least he would have the court sit (without the jury) to discuss / rule?
What do you think Sprocket?
p.s. I'm pleased you're getting a day off. You deserve a break!

Freemore said...

I would not be surprised if PS isn't trying to fire his attorney.

Anonymous said...

"Crumbling defense"?

Bill said...

Thanks for your diligence in both the Spectr trial and the Anthony trial to be. You are the best source on both. I have a theory I believe to be the case since the last trial...I think Mis Punkin Pie got her "pay off" from Phil and is enjoying social life in Cancun! What do others think? She had to be paid!!!

Anonymous said...

Bear in mind, Weinberg pulled the same "illness" excuse back in October when he was supposed to attend a pre-trial hearing for accused child molester Dr. William Ayres. That date had been set back in July, before the Spector trial had started. But Weinberg scheduled something that day for the Spector trial anyway, and then said he had to reschedule Ayres due to illness. He was admonished by the Ayres judge in court in July over his delay tactics.

Sedonia Sunset said...

Maybe Phil sees the writing on the wall and decided to get the throat surgery NOW before he's in the slammer, where it will probably be much more difficult to get it done ... naaah.

Maybe he's pulling a Michael Jackson and he'll show up in court tomorrow wearing pajama bottoms.

Maybe Rachelle couldn't stand looking at his ugly face or listening to his vile, incomprehensible spewing for one more second and he needs a procedure to remove an embedded stiletto heel from somewhere upon his person.

Maybe he slipped and fell into the fountain which, having been revved up considerably, kept swirling him around in circles until someone fished him out, with him looking like a nearly drowned chihuahua, although, really, he looks more like a turtle (see comparison photo at:


Given his turtle/tortoise-like attributes, maybe he rolled over on his back and couldn't get up and is now exhausted from the effort.

Maybe his hemorrhoids have gotten to an acute phase from all that sitting in court. We'll know if he has to bring an inflatable doughnut to court :-)

Maybe he tripped on his rifle while walking down the stairs in his Elmer Fudd ensemble.

Maybe he fell off his platform shoes.

He might have a wig emergency.

Maybe Punkin Pie showed up on his doorstep wearing what she wore to her first day in court the last time around and he's suffering from hysterical blindness.

He realized that his mother's warnings came true and his face really IS stuck that way.

Maybe his nipple ring became infected (this is a reference to a threatening call he made to Dorothy Melvin that was played in court).

Maybe he found a Beijing bench with holes in it (some of you know what I'm talking about) ;-) If not, Google "beijing park bench holes".

Maybe he needed a procedure to remove the heads of his expert witnesses from his ass.

Or maybe he finally realized that he killed a woman by sticking a gun in her mouth to bolster his pathetic ego even as he realizes that everyone (especially women) thinks he's a disgusting, lying, despicable turd, and he can't face it anymore, so he's collapsed in a quivering mass of weeping jelly somewhere, terrified by the sure knowledge that he's going to Hell or, at the very least, PRISON. Is there a procedure for THAT?

donchais said...

So, does the wee one have to bring a doctors note? Or do we just buy the bs?

Anonymous said...

Surely he cannot fire the attorney at this point (he would also lose Reardon (sp?), who shares an office in San Fran w/Weinberg).

Whatever medical issue he has, you can bet it will be prolonged as long as humanly possible.
Wes J.

Anonymous said...

I went to the website for "Backstage Cafe Beverly Hills" and the calendar of events page was blank. (Tonite is Pie nite, she could be found there for subpoena service or whatever)...its all too mysterious.

Anonymous said...

Possibly Spector and Weinberg are both upset about that Dimaio gave reasonable answers while he was being cross examined. They might be worried that their witnesses are starting to bail on this sinking ship, and will no longer risk their reputations for this little creep. If so, they are stalling to try to come up with a revised strategy. TOO late!!! Unless there is an idiot on the jury, Spector is toast.


Anonymous said...

In the poll, I voted that Spector was trying to delay the inevitable. As Freemore wrote, he may be trying to fire his attorney. Spector could, in his usual fashion, be telling Weinberg what to do, hoping that this would make him resign. It may be something like this.

Spector may feel he has nothing to lose in trying to find some way to get another mistrial. He may hope that there will be a public outcry for the D.A.'s office to "leave him alone," and for the public to say, "Phil Spector has been punished enough."

The above is just speculation on my part. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I wouldn't be surprised if Spector tries to flee. I'm certain law enforcement is keeping an eye on him.

David From TN

Anonymous said...

Can you think of a reason why Phil Spector might need his voice before the defense rests?


BTW, Sprocket, re the "crumbling defense" theory, my impression from your daily reports has been that the defense case was much better executed than in Spector I. Is this not correct?

Anonymous said...

Wow. Spector trying to flee....that would be great. I doubt it, but it would be great. Spector the fugitive.

Anonymous said...

I expect the trial to resume today or tomorrow. The handwriting's on the wall. It's over for Spector.

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, if the trial is on today please post that information before you leave for the court. Thanks.

GuiltyIndeed said...

Sprocket... thanks as always for a job well done. I am just eage for the troll to be locked away. Wish CA would do us a favor and lock away JHR and Pie too. Oh Hell, throw Sims in there too.

Sedonia Sunset... actually rotflmao. so funny

Anonymous said...

He probably needed his voice back to tell the court that he isn't taking the stand. He is guilty and he just can't take a cross examination from AJ

GeeMama said...

Maybe Weinberg is advising him to take the stand, hence vocal cord surgery but I just can't see Spector's ego allowing him to be questioned by AJ.

Or the Ayres trial catching up to Weinberg may be the thing.

Thanks, Sedonia for the giggles and yes, I googled the park bench.

Sprocket said...

JayDee: Jury contacts

There is a department in the courthouse that is in charge of jurors. I'm sure they have the name/address/phone #, etc. However, the only thing courtroom 106 received is their juror # and I believe they probably got a phone number from each of them once they were seated and sworn in.

Anon @ 10:52 pm: Being sent home

This is not the first time this has happened, where jurors came in and then they were sent home. It's happened a few times when jurors have been ill. Happened the very first day that testimony was to begin, remember, when the one juror hurt his foot. It also happened right before Christmas break when Juror #1 was taken to the emergency room.

Lee in Oz: Short notice

It IS short notice. It had to have happened over the weekend either Saturday or Sunday. From what I was told from those who were there, the words "medical procedure" were given. For it to stop the trial that would have to be Spector, and not a witness. A witness can always be rescheduled and another witness brought in.

I hope AJ asks for "proof" that Spector had the medical procedure (instead of just a bandage on his throat) such as the medical bill or a note from his doctor.

Freemore: Firing Weinberg

We learned from Dominick Dunne that during the last trial, Spector tried to fire Chris Plourd after the Baden debacle. Fidler wouldn't let him. So, I'm doubting Fidler would let Spector fire Weinberg now.

Bill: Where is Pie?

If I'm remembering correctly, We've had Sims state on the stand that he is still in contact with Pie, but not as much since the Backstage closed. For the life of me I'm drawing a blank on if he stated she has been ill. It may be in my notes covering Sims.

Anon @ 3:07 am: Illness

In the Ayres case, did Weinberg tell the judge "he" was ill or his client was ill? From my understanding of Monday, he told Fidler Spector was having a "medical procedure."

Sedonia Sunset:

LOL! Those are certainly some interesting possibilities.

Donchais: Doctor's Note

I hope Fidler makes Weinberg produce one but with the way these rulings have gone so far on the defense, I'm doubting it. So let's speculate for a moment. Wouldn't it be amazing if the prosecution had a detective watching for cars leaving the Castle on Monday and no one left for the surgery appointment?

Anon @ 6:26 am: Backstage

I was under the impression the place was closed. I could be wrong about that. I could have sworn that Sims testified the place was closed when the owner died a few years ago. Shrugging shoulders here.

Anon @ 7:17 am: "Crumbling Defense"

Weinberg has been a much better performing attorney in the courtroom. However, in his case-in-chief, his witnesses have not fared well on the stand.

Spitz: Coming across as needing to be put out to pasture years ago and arguing, almost yelling at AJ from the stand.

Pex: Perjury accusation.

Di Maio: Trying to get him to shore up other failing witnesses (Pex, Spitz) as well as testify to things where he is NOT an expert.

Sims: Discovery violation and no explanation for his dramatically changed testimony.

Hayes Riedl: Coming across as a real "Bitch" on the stand who was no "friend" of Lana, and who lost control and was yelling at Truc Do.

This is what I mean about "crumbling defense."

Who knows. Maybe the jury will believe Ms. Pie when she takes the stand and his suicide defense theory will pull a rabbit out of the hat for Spector. In my opinion, that's a real long shot though.

I spoke to Juror #9 yesterday, (who was thinking of attending court today) and asked him if he believed any of the "friends" such as Pie, Jennifer, and Greg Sims. He said that the jury didn't believe a single one of them. That their testimony wasn't really discussed at all in the jury room.

JayDee said...


You're right, the Backstage closed last year.